A Tale Dark and Grimm (A Tale Dark and Grimm #1) by Adam Gidwitz

Finally, a telling of stories originating from the brothers Grimm that takes the reader all the way back to the wonderfully bloody origins. And a highly appropriate read for the Halloween month it is! The author uses Hansel and Gretel as the thread to connect together a wonderful telling of dark fairy tales.

Throughout the book, the author offers clever asides and warnings of the scary bits to come, advising small children to leave the room, get a babysitter or hide under the bed. This will result in one of two things: children (and children at heart) will be compelled to read on or will scare themselves witless and spend the night with bloody visions of dragons eating people, handsome men pulling guts out of girls that turn into doves and envisioning Hansel and Gretel trudging through forests dark and dreary as they go all the way to the Gates of Hell and beyond to find out if there are any good adults.

Spoiler: there are no good adults. I love a book that brings back to life a better reflection of reality. I also love the fact that the children, rather than being eternally helpless and rescued by charming adults, instead mature and become self-reliant as they learn the lessons on their journey from light to dark and back to light.

The author is a second grade teacher and some reviews from the helicopter parent set have been scandalized at the darkness within the book and reflected the fact their child was too scared to finish it – this is a book that might help parents to toughen up their kids a little and focus on the courage, tenacity, intelligence and wisdom that children have and that are shown in the book rather than books that teach gentle lessons that the children can learn while wrapped up in little cotton balls.

As for adults – they will love the telling of the story, the re-boot of Hansel and Gretel as it was probably meant to be told and the humour and horror in the telling. It’s not Stephen King but it’s absolutely no Mother Goose. Poe perhaps? Anyway, a quick Halloween treat.


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